Youth of the Year Katie Pelphrey Poised for Success

Think today’s teenagers are lazy and lack ambition? You’ll think again when you meet the 2009 Arabian Horse Association Youth of the Year, Katie Pelphrey from Louisville, Ky.

Pelphrey was chosen for the Youth of the Year honor among a field of incredible young individuals who represent the Arabian breed to the greater equine community in ways rarely seen from young people across any sport. Pelphrey stood out from the field with impeccable grades, an incredible amount of dedication to her community and the Arabian horse community, a 12-page winning show record and unbeatable poise.

At Sacred Heart Academy, Pelphrey maintained a 3.8 grade point average and is involved in a slew of activities including the Y-club, National Honor Society (NHS), the Kentucky United Nations Assembly and the Kentucky Youth Assembly. Through NHS she tutored disadvantaged children and worked with the St. Vincent DePaul Santa Shop. She’s volunteered to assist disabled children in a therapeutic riding program and helps out at the YMCA’s after school program.

Entering the University of Kentucky in the fall, Pelphrey plans to take full advantage of her proximity to the World Equestrian Games (WEG) and dedicate her time as a volunteer at the games. From there Pelphrey wants to build on her success as a young leader in the industry, which has included serving as the Arabian Horse Youth Association (AHYA) Vice President and successfully bringing a resolution to the Annual AHA Convention floor and being incremental in getting it passed.

Pelphrey’s talents extend to the show ring. She began showing Class A shows in 2003 in the walk/trot classes and won her first championship at Youth Nationals in 2005 in HA/AA Hunter Seat Eq Not to Jump JT 13 & Under, but by then she had already racked up several top 10s and reserve championships. Pelphrey’s show record stretches about 12 pages long, highlighting wins in dressage, hunter hack, working hunter, hunt seat equitation, in-hand and a few others. “Katie is so athletic and talented. She gets it. She can feel it and knows when to push and when she has to let go and she has a great show ring presence. And wants to win!” says Adrienne Hancock-Leong of Stonehurst Riding Club.

Each year the Youth of the Year subcommittee works to find an AHYA member who is an excellent breed representative. Anyone may nominate an AHYA youth member for the Youth of the Year Award. The regional director or director-at-large must approve Youth of the Year nominees. Nominations must be submitted to the AHA office postmarked no later than September 1. To read more about Youth of the Year visit

AHA is a major equine association serving 33,000 members across North America. It registers and maintains a database of more than one million Arabian, Half-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses and administers approximately $3 million in annual prize money. AHA produces championship events, recognizes close to 600 Arabian horse shows and distance rides and provides activities and programs that promote breeding and ownership. For information about Arabian, Half-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses, call 303-696-4500, e-mail or visit